Martin Chemnitz: why pray if God knows everything?

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Martin Chemnitz provides some practical answers to a problem that often perplexes the believer. I am only posting a brief preview here, but the extract is worth reading in full if you have the time. I was supposed to be reading a translation of Chemnitz's work on Trent via EEBO-TCP, yet decided to start reading his book on the Lord's Prayer instead. Judged by this extract, it looks excellent:

There be not only cavils of profane men, but also conceits in the hearts of the godly themselves which trouble them much, against the necessity and benefit of using prayer. For first, if God know what we want before we ask, what need is there, or what availeth it, to shew and solicit our suits to him which knoweth them already? for such rehearsals are wont to be troublesome and grievous. S. Hierome [Jerome] answereth very finely: That, in prayer we are no shewers, but suiters: and it is one thing, to make known to him that is ignorant; and another thing, to intreat and ask of him that knoweth.

Yet this answer removeth not all difficulty. For our heavenly father doth not only know, what thing we want, but also unasked of his fatherly care and favour, is ready and forward of his own accord to help us before we ask. And therefore it seemeth, there is either no benefit or no need of praying; I answer: we do not pray with that intent, and for that end, as though we would by our prayers stir up God, and put him in mind of his duty, being negligent and careless of our affaires; or otherwise as being hard and merciless, allure him by our prayers, and bring him into an other mind. ...

For more, see Martin Chemnitz: why pray if God knows everything?

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
Also in our prayers we do thus lay open our wants and miseries before God, not as though we knew them not

Did you mean to type 'he' ?

Great read btw.
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